Canoes were the first craft to ever run whitewater recreationally. Origionally meant for multiple people to travel up and down streams, rivers, and lakes, the canoe was modified for whitewater purposes. The paddler kneels in a canoe, rather than sitting. The canoe is usually an open craft, meaning no sprayskirt or means to keep water from splashing in. Luckily, “float bags” were developed to prevent the canoes from being swamped by filling in all of the void space. These are basically giant balloons fashioned to fit the inside of the canoe.
There are also more modified canoes that resemble kayaks, but the paddler remains kneeling rather than sitting as in kayaks. Many whitewater canoes today are shorter with a rounded hull to allow the navigation of whitewater. Flatwater canoes are the most common type used by recreational paddlers, but are shaped in a way that is fast, but extremely hard to quickly maneuver—making them unsuitable for most whitewater use.
Some awesome canoeists: